Parent burnout reaching new heights amid pandemic, but local life coach has some tips to keep your sanity

LIfe Coach Deborah Kaplan says parents need to be KIND to themselves
Published: Dec. 10, 2020 at 6:52 AM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Lisa Meritt works from home upwards of 50 hours a week, sometimes more, while supervising her two sons as they do 100-percent virtual learning.

As a widow, she’s doing it all on her own.

“I’m trying to focus on one thing, but I want to focus on my kids, but I can’t focus on my kids and then I seem them get disappointed, and you hear ‘mom you’re on your phone all the time. Mom, you’re always on the computer’,” says Merritt.

Meritt says as much as she loves the extra time with her boys, it can get loud and overwhelming.

“Having them at home, the drums are going, the piano’s going, there’s screaming and shouting,” says Merritt.

April Walker is also a single mom.

The pandemic cost her job back in March.

Since then, she’s been trying to keep her head above water, while taking care of her three kids.

“You almost feel like a failure as a mom, you know, when you’re struggling. Am I going to be able to feed my kids tomorrow, because you don’t know,” says Walker.

With so much uncertainty, it’s no wonder that parents are feeling the pressure.

It’s something life coach Deborah Kaplan is hearing a lot these days.

She says especially now, it’s crucial to be KIND to yourself.

Kind, as in...

K for Keeping it simple.

I for indulging yourself.

N for learning to say NO.

And D for delegating and being deliberate.

The keeping it simple part is sometimes the toughest.

Kaplan says when it comes to kids, less is more.

“So, I think it’s a good reminder just to keep it simple and not to over do. They’re looking for normalcy, tradition, touch points,” says Kaplan.

And she says parents need to indulge themselves with much-needed breaks.

“So indulging yourself might be self-care and taking care of yourself. Drinking water, taking breaks, the quality of breathing,” says Kaplan.

Merritt says her faith helps her cope, along with living a less structured lifestyle.

“I’ve definitely had to let go of OCD behavior. If the house isn’t clean, it’s okay. If the laundry’s not done, it’s okay,” says Merritt.

As for Walker, she’s spending more time outdoors, and has learned a new skill.

“And actually, the small engine repair that I’ve been doing at home, it’s actually just mind-soothing to me. I can see what I accomplished and the determination’s there,” says Walker.

By looking after their own well-being during this pandemic, parents can better care for those who are most precious to them.

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